Wisconsin-Penn St. Preview
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Penn State will try to pull off an upset win without longtime head coach Pat Chambers when it hosts No. 22 Wisconsin on Sunday night in State College, Pa.
Chambers will serve a one-game suspension for shoving Nittany Lions freshman Myles Dread during a timeout three nights earlier in a loss to No. 2 Michigan. The 48-year-old coach accepted the suspension and has apologized for the incident in which he berated the 19-year-old guard and shoved him in the chest with a jab of his right hand.
The incident was a low point in a difficult season for Penn State (7-7, 0-3 Big Ten), which remains winless in the conference. Chambers has led the program since 2011, posting a 120-128 record while missing seven straight NCAA tournaments.
"Coach Chambers and I have spoken about what occurred during the Michigan game and he is very remorseful," Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a statement released by the program. "His actions were unacceptable, which he recognized, and he apologized to Myles Dread (on Thursday) and his family (on Friday). His actions do not reflect the values of Penn State and the expectations we set for our programs and must not occur again. Pat and I agree his actions were unacceptable and he will be suspended for Sunday night's game vs. Wisconsin."
Meanwhile, the Badgers (10-4, 2-1) are looking to bounce back from back-to-back losses against Western Kentucky on the road and Minnesota at home. The team has lost three of its past five games after winning nine of its first 10.
Ethan Happ leads Wisconsin with averages of 19.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game this season. D'Mitrik Trice is second on the team with 14.9 points per game, and Brad Davison is third with an average 10.0 points.
Happ knows that he and his teammates cannot afford to look past Penn State regardless of Chambers' suspension.
"That was said (earlier this week) about how this is one of the best years for the Big Ten in a while, where every night you're not going to have any (easy) games," Happ said in comments published by the Wisconsin State Journal. "That was proven to us (against Minnesota). If we don't come ready to play, it'll be the same thing against Penn State."
Wisconsin is shooting 48.6 percent from the field this season and 37.6 percent from beyond the arc. Free-throw shooting has been a weak spot, with the Badgers making only 67.4 percent of their attempts.
Penn State is shooting only 41.7 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from 3-point range. The Nittany Lions have performed a hair better than the Badgers from the charity stripe, making 67.7 percent of their attempts.
Lamar Stevens leads Penn State with 18.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Rasir Bolton is the only other player on the Nittany Lions who is averaging in double figures with 13.6 points per game.
This is the first of two regular-season meetings between the schools. Penn State will visit Wisconsin on March 2.
Updated January 5, 2019